Ohio Stands for Rick Santorum as He and Newt Gingrich Cross Paths

Mar 3, 2012 11:07pm

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — A crowd in Ohio spoke volumes about the shape of the GOP race Saturday night without even saying a word.

The crowd of about 1,000 attending a Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner at Bowling Green University stood to their feet in applause for presidential candidate Rick Santorum four times and a fifth at the end of his speech.

As for candidate Newt Gingrich, the crowd gave him no standing ovations during his speech, only at the end of the speech. Gingrich was first to speak and immediately dropped right into talking about his energy policy. He spoke for 15 minutes — the allotted amount of time the 5th Congressional District gave to both candidates.

Santorum followed Gingrich and more than doubled his talking time with a 35-minute speech. Santorum spoke on defining what America is before hitting President Obama on a number of social issues, including the Catholic Church and birth control, which gave Santorum his first standing ovation of the night.

Talking about American exceptionalism, Santorum said the concept of equality came from Christianity, not Islam.

“I love it because the left says equality, equality. Where does that concept come from? Does it come from Islam? Does it come from other cultures around the world? Are men and women treated equally? Are adults and children treated equally? No,” Santorum said. “It comes it comes from our culture and tradition, from the Judeo-Christian ethic. That’s where this comes from-the sense of equality.”

Santorum also blasted the negative ads across Super Tuesday states, saying the election isn’t about “tweedledum and tweedledee.”

“Good luck getting bit things done in Washington with a group of people who came in with a non-issue election, with a down and dirty negative election. We need to raise our sights not just here in this room but across the country,” Santorum said.

Though Gingrich kept his speech on energy within the time frame, he also spoke with reporters outside the event, where he commented on ABC News’ report about Santorum not qualifying for some of Ohio’s delegates.

“Look, both of us, to be fair, we had some problems in Virginia,” he said. “Rick has had some problems here. We have more delegates in Pennsylvania than he does. It will be interesting to see how it evolves over the next couple of days.”

Sticking to his campaign brand of a $2.50 gasoline promise, Gingrich said his new web ad on gas prices has done so well for online fundraising that the campaign plans to put it up on TV next week, but did not specify which states.

Gingrich said he didn’t know how many delegates he would pick up in Georgia, but that he felt an “upswing” in the election in general.

“I do feel that we’re back, if you look at the Gallup numbers etc, we’re back on the upswing,” Gingrich said. “I think the margin between Santorum and me has closed very dramatically in the last 10 days. And that’s part of this competition is to get back to a position to be able to compete head-to-head with Romney.”

On the rope line after the event, Santorum refused questions about the Washington caucus, where he was in third place at the time of the question. Gingrich told reporters he was in fourth when they started campaigning there, but would see what happened tonight.

Santorum heads to Tennessee and Oklahoma Sunday as Gingrich heads to Tennessee to campaign on Monday.

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